I think Margery Fish and I may have hit a bump in the road.
Because while Marge liked it wild and willful, I’m not sure she liked it MESSY.
And there’s no denying it. I’m a bit messy.
I was out walking yesterday with a friend and explaining why I love my car so much. This car is probably officially the worst car in the world… It belches out black smoke every time you accelerate, the rear brake light is smashed, the passenger door lock is gaffer taped up (to prevent rainwater leaking in), the fuel guage doesn’t work (so you have to guess whether you need diesel with obvious consequences), there’s paint all over the floor, one of the sun visors was ripped out by my daughter and her mate when they were 2, there’s no rear windscreen wiper
We have been very kindly offered the use of a LOVELY car, in perfect condition. And I mourn. And as I was telling my friend about this I found myself explaining that I come from a world where things were not neat and tidy. Books sprawled, newspapers piled, pens and two penny pieces accumulated in wooden bowls until they overflowed and there was no room for the half packets of extra strong mints flavoured with bitter strands of Old Holborn… Emotions were messy; we raged and loved and laughed and fought and hugged and forgot.
When I was eight I found out that a new game in school was that kids sitting behind me in class were sticking pencils into my hair because it was so scruffy they stuck there. Someone even saw a woodlouse in there once. It wasn’t malevolent and I didn’t mind much.
So, you see… here is the rub. All my life I have hankered after a lovely clean tidy home and garden and suddenly I realise that it isn’t that I don’t have one because I don’t have enough time/sleep/energy/help. It’s because that isn’t where I come from, it’s not ME.
My lovely parents in law came at Easter and completed the annual Easter Challenge. This year they filled up the raised beds with veg, made beautiful hazel frames for the beans to grow up, erected a web for the mange tout, strung strings and laid potatoes in neat lines, they suggested uses for the discarded pots of hyacinths that I had meant to fill the house with after New Year but never got around to… And I saw it all with their eyes and was disheartened because when neat and tidy and downright messy collide, one gets frustrated and the other feels like a loser.
I found myself TRUDGING to the beautiful beds to water my lovely veg. I avoided the left side of the garden which never got mourning clearance and it blooms bigger and brighter each day with clouds of comfrey, nettles and acid green young brambles hellbent on domination. I didn’t make eye contact with the pond and I let the tomato plants die. I was stuck and I knew it and I couldn’t explain why.
Until yesterday when I talked about my car and how it links me back to my childhood (my mum will be protesting violently at this) and suddenly I realise that whilst we all want to bloom out of the soil in which we were raised, sometimes its not that simple.
So now I am smiling and have a hum in my heart because I realise that I CAN still love my garden and and erect hazel frames and use a DIBBER if there are always ancient pots on their way to the tip…one day, if my good intentions never quite make it into reality, if only one side of the garden ever gets weeded.
Perhaps instead of seeing the unrepaired tear in polytunnel as an example of my failure I can see it as a part of what MY garden looks like.
And love it.